A Lucid Dream is a type of dream in which the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming. During a lucid dream, the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, or environment; however, this is not actually necessary for a dream to be described as lucid. Lucid dreaming can give you greater control over yourself, let you explore your subconcious, and possibly dream more restfully.
How Do I Lucid Dream?
You can increase the odds that you will reach a lucid dream state by letting yourself sleep in late some mornings, if at all, or taking a brief afternoon nap, when you might have an easier time noticing you are dreaming. Many people who have had experiences with lucid dreaming suggest sleeping an hour and waking up, and going back to sleep, because lucid dreaming becomes possible as soon as you get into your REM dreaming phase. By going from being awake to being in REM sleep (dreaming) sleep, you are more likely to experience stronger, more vivid dreams that can potentially be controlled. With practice, you can lucid dream on a regular basis, and you can learn to control the dream state in order to explore your subconscious, which can help to increase your self-awareness and increase creativity.
People who are in a bad, disturbed sleep state will either dream heavily and destructively -- usually in the form of nightmares -- or they will not dream at all. Dreams can be a marker of sleep quality: If you are sleeping poorly, you might be unable to recall dreams, or they might be generally negative in emotional tone. If you are struggling with dream recall, remember that getting lots of sleep is the first step in having good dream recall (more sleep than average). Practicing Sleep Hygiene is the best way to improve the quality of our sleep and cognitive function can go a long way.
Sleep Hygiene includes things like being adequately hydrated, taking care of your body, and sleeping with natural circadium rhythms. These things improve general brain function. Things like going to bed after taking a shower or bath, and making sure you have the right real life environment for sleeping are also included in Sleep Hygiene. The right environment can be simple things like a clean bed, warm blankets, a fan, or even a white noise machine to help reduce ouside noise from waking you. Drinking a calming herbal tea before sleep can also help keep you longer in a state of conscious dreaming (REM sleep). The combination of soothing herbs, setting intentions, and caring for your own body provides ideal conditions for a lucid dream exploration.
Herbs For Lucid Dreaming
There are various traditional ritual herbs in history, such as Calea zacatechichi (Aztec Dream Herb) from Mesoamerica, and Silene Undulata (Xhosa Dream Herb or African Dream Root) from South Africa, that are said to improve the recollection and intensity of dreams. They have been used traditionally for strengthening the third eye, the dream or spirit world, freeing the spirit, and prophetic divination. These herbs and roots have been used for thousands of years to provide prophesied prophecies via dreams, out-of-body experiences, and waking you up mindfully in a dream state for lucid dreaming.
Indigenous groups, including the Chontal Maya, also use the 'Calea Zacatechichi' herb to improve brain activity and mental clarity. It has potential medicinal uses, too. In Mexico the plant is used in folk medicine as an herbal remedy for health concerns like dysentery and fever. The Zoque Popoluca people call the plant tam huñi ("bitter gum") and use it to treat diarrhea and asthma, and the Mixe people know it as poop taam ujts ("white bitter herb") and use it for stomachache and fever. Calea zacatechichi comes in several forms but most people who use this highly revered mystical plant tend to smoke it in a pipe or rolled cigarette, or alternatively make it into tea.
African Dream Root
Silene undulata, or African Dream Root is regarded by the Xhosa people as a sacred plant. Its root is traditionally used to induce vivid (and according to the Xhosa, prophetic) lucid dreams during the initiation process of shamans. Xhosa people believe that living people can communicate with their dead ancestors through the dream state.
If there is any one herb that has been said helps to promote the development of prophetic dreams, it is Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris. According to legend, mugwort has been around since the middle ages. It is used to strengthen psychic abilities like clairvoyance and clairaudience, as well as helping to pass through the threshold from visible to unseen -- inducing lucid, prophetic dreams, and helping with astral travel.
Explore mugwort for dream herbs whenever you have the time and inclination to push the unconscious mind and subconscious mind slightly into dreaming. If you already have a solid memory for dreams, and rich dream textures, you may start becoming conscious of the dream state when dreaming with mugwort. Mugwort can be smoked or taken as tea or tincture, in order to get into a relaxing, meditative state, facilitate lucid dreaming, and assist with recollection of dreams. If not ingested, it can be placed underneath a normal pillow, or made into a dream pillow. The scent and energy of the herb itself is believed to help facilitate lucid dreaming, soothe the mind, and guard against experiencing bad dreams. It may be effective in increasing the dream state and inducing states of peaceful euphoria, which makes falling asleep easier (it works well as a sleep aid if you suffer from insomnia).
Yarrow or Achillea Millefolium, and its North American varieties has a long history of use by many Native American nations. Many have also recognized it as a protective, healing plant that encourages prophetic dreams. It used by native americans to Similar to that of mugwort, this plant was used in times of visioning to connect a person to their dreams and desires. Its circulatory tonic effect soothes energetic stagnation and blockages.
There are several herbs and medicinal plants more commonly known to help with sleep and relaxation that may help put you in a good state of mind for lucid dreaming. Being in a state of relaxation, allows for the dream work to be more easily attainable.
Valerian Root, (Valeriana Officinalis) is an intriguing herb that contains certain compounds that can act on GABA receptors in the body. GABA is a natural messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your nervous system. It’s one of the key neurotransmitters responsible for sleep regulation. Increasing the amount of GABA available in your body has sedative effects. Compounds in valerian may also interact with receptors for increased serotonin.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen and one of the most popular Ayurvedic herbs. It has been used since ancient times to help bring balance to adrenal function, and encourage the human body into a restful and relaxed state of being.
Passionflower, or passiflora incarnata, supports the nervous system in unwinding when you are feeling wound up from occasional anxiety. It has long been used for assisting the body and mind’s ability to ease into a deep state of sleep, particularly around calming mental chatter.
For those who want to dream or recall their dream, using herbs to spark more vivid dreams can help with dream recall, can make it easier--and not horribly time-consuming, but one other practice also makes a lot of progress possible.
Record Your Dreams
In addition to using herbs that encouraging deeper nighttime sleep and more vivid positive dreams, you can try writing down your dreams. This can help you recall them the following morning, so that you can review them and uncover hidden cues. A Dream Journal can help you track and remember your dreams, bringing you one step closer to lucid dreaming. Generally, you will remember your last dream only until you wake up, but with practice and writing, you may remember as many as 4 or 5 dreams per night. Start by writing down what you remember and you may eventually remember whole dreams. Uncovering hidden cues may help your conscious mind realize when you are dreaming while you asleep. All of these things can help you become a proficient lucid dreamer.
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